I spent the week before the retreat stressing about it. It didn't help that I had a cold and wasn't getting my workouts in so that just added to my stress. I started not sleeping because I typically don't talk about my adoption loss in person and when I do I just touch the first level of it. I have build a wall and don't really express myself. I pretend to be okay when at times I really am not okay.
I spent a good portion of the week with tension in my stomach. It was basically the butterflies from being nervous and too many butterflies made me feel slightly ill to my stomach.
The retreat started on Friday evening but we left Thursday morning about 10 am. It was quite an adventure. I don't really like to travel much. I am getting better and really did enjoy all the neat things to see as we were driving. I did a little sleeping on the ride too.
They had created a facebook page for the birthmom's but I still felt very nervous. We got to the hotel early before the night kicked off. I had seen some of the birthmom's were meeting early in their rooms and I posted this picture online that I was going to go find them.
I just flat out lied! I couldn't talk myself into finding the other birthmom's. I was nervous. I was scared out of my mind! It's been drilled into my head for so long that I don't talk about being a birthmom and I am not confident in my reunion... but if the birthmom's have younger kids and don't know anything about their kids.. like me many years ago.. my thought process is am I going to be sounding ungrateful! I don't know if I have ever been so nervous in my life. Not only is the point of the retreat to talk to others who may have similar stories but these are strangers.
So finally the time for the event to start and my husband walks me over the location of the hotel that the retreat was getting started. He sat with me until a couple other birthmom's walked in the area.. I honestly was so freaking nervous about it all..
So the event was called The Friday night mixer. We all sat just anywhere we wanted to sit. The girls at my table were all in different spots with it all. One girl had placed a baby less than six months ago. I didn't even want to think about where I was in my life when I was less than six months post placement. Sometimes, when I look back at those early days, I am in disbelief that I survived those early moments of loss.
One birthmom's daughter has just recently turned 16 years of age and she was pregnant with her 3rd child but only second child raising. It sounded like she was in an open adoption. I didn't know much about my daughter but when she was about 16 years old is when I found out she lived in my area. I am sure some of you will remember me contacting the parents by mail to see how Izzy was doing and to get a picture but days and months passed without any answer. I remember at the six month mark I wrote again and again nothing. I was going thru my own private hell and I remember being verbally attacked because my husband didn't understand me.
I remember eventually seeking counseling thru the adoption agency that had gave me some counseling after the first year.. not that it was effective.. that is when they would take you to a fast food place and chit chat over a soda.. so it wasn't never really any kind of deep stuff going on.
The counseling this time around was a little more effective. I had been seeing one lady and when she quit.. I quit myself cause I had to ask for help all over again.. but eventually I did it and met with a new lady. It was with her that I really made gains and started getting some control of my life back.. She is the one who suggested I make Izzy a scrapbook. It really helped me pass the time. I still have the book and can't bring myself to actually call it finished or give it to her.
The friday mixer was dinner. They had gotten salad, pizza and cupcakes. I was amazed with myself not to go back for more cupcakes cause I was really stressing.. I think I have made a turning point when it comes not to turning to food for comfort. They did little games and such as a ice breaker.
One game they had you name three things about yourself and one of them had to be a lie and then the others would try to guess. I said "I was a teacher. I lost over 100 pounds and don't remember what the other truth was.. so when someone guessed that the teacher bit was a lie.. I said.. "no that's the truth" LOL I had to come back and say it was the lie.
The mixer was only about two hours and some of the birthmom's had been there before and I know they would hang out together but I couldn't handle anymore.
I left that spot in nearly in tears.. bye the time I got to my husband who was in our hotel room.. I was tearing up and shaking. I never felt so scared, alone and uncomforable with a group of women. I was feeling so miserable and didn't want to just sit in the hotel room.. I don't really like to cry. I can't remember the last time I let my husband see me cry.. I know he is different now but it used to get ugly when I cried over this stuff.
My truth is that after 23 years and reunion that I am not comfortable in my own skin. I am not proud of this part of my history. I know I sealed Izzy's fate by hiding the pregnancy for 9 months.. things might have been much different had I not hid it so well.. But I know my Mom would have pushed abortion so if it had to be abortion or adoption. I would choose life.. today.. if I could have a kid and no money... I would choose to eat mac n cheese every day before I did adoption.
We were in a strange city so going off on my own wasn't an option for me. I had plan on going to the fitness room to walk on the treadmill but he suggested a walk around the city. It's was a much better idea that walking on a treadmill.. We spent about an hour walking thru the city. It's such a neat city. It helped change my thought process and it was just what I needed.
I went to sleep that night and once again I wasn't able to sleep well. I knew I would have a long day. I hoped that as the weekend went on that I would feel more comfortable with the whole situation. I will try to post more about the rest of the retreat soon.